Monday, March 30, 2009

Text on the Surface

I just signed up for another workshop with Susie Monday. If you haven't taken a class from her, you should! I have taken several and they have all been fabulous.

I will be taking "Text on the Surface" in May. We'll be exploring the use of written language in our work. I have never used letters or text in my fiber art, but I find the idea intriguing, and I am looking forward to experimenting, both with the use of text and with the different ways of applying it to fabric.

I am also looking forward to visiting Susie's beautiful home in the hills West of San Antonio, and to spending a weekend with the creative women who tend to congregate there. I know it will be a wonderful getaway!

Off to Ohio

I am leaving for Ohio tomorrow morning. I'll be gone for three weeks: one week with my brother and his family in Columbus and 2 weeks in Baltimore, Ohio, at Nancy Crow's Timber Frame Barn. I am nearly ready to go, but how does one pack for 3 weeks away from home? I am sure I am taking far too many things, although one of my two large suitcases is packed exclusively with class supplies. The other is stuffed with clothes, books, knitting projects, my favorite pillow....and probably too much stuff altogether.

I am taking a two week dyeing course at the Timber Frame Barn from Carol Soderlund. The first week we will be working with silk, and the second with cotton. I can't wait to get started!

Brian and I spent last weekend with our friends Micki and Bryce at their beautiful house on Lake Granbury. On Saturday, which was cold and windy, we toured wineries: Barking Rocks in Granbury and Bluff Dale Winery in Bluff Dale. We sampled some great wine, bought several bottles and cooked a wonderful dinner Saturday night. I made an appetizer with salsify, which neither Micki nor Bryce had ever eaten, Brian made risotto with chestnuts and Micki cooked some lovely beef tenderloins. Bryce was saving his cooking skills for the next morning -- he was in charge of Sunday breakfast. After breakfast, we hopped into Bryce's boat and motored up the Brazos River to horseshoe bend. Quite a few miles up the river. We saw lots of wildlife -- pelicans, hawks, ospreys, all kinds of ducks, a tree with 4 blue heron nests (all occupied), egrets, even a swan. So cool! I haven't been on a boat since we went narrowboating in England.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Rain!

Rain today. According to Brian's new rain gauge, we got .29 inches. I ran out right before the downpour started and took a picture of one of our lilies that had just burst into bloom:

The weather service was predicting hail, but luckily it missed us. We just got some wonderful, gentle, much needed rain.

Dyeing Day

Rhonda and I spent Monday dyeing and batiking fabric. So Wednesday, I spent most of the day washing the dye and wax out of our efforts. I have to say, it is a very good batch. Lots of saturated color.

We dyed somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 yards, most of which was cut into half yard pieces. Here is the whole batch:

And a few of our batiks. Some were batiked over fabric that I had previously dyed, some were batiked on white:






I can't wait to cut these pieces up!

Monday, March 23, 2009

The Week That Was...

I was busy and productive last week. Not only did we exchange our "Bridesmades" quilts, I managed to spend some time in the studio, to play bridge and to shop for supplies for a class I am taking at the Nancy Crow Timber Barn in April.

I finished Block Study #8. Constructed of red kimono silk and commercial prints and batiks:

A closeup of the quilting:

I quilted this for Kay. Love the Texas fabrics!

A closeup of a few of the wonderful Texas prints:

And the lady banks rose has burst into bloom!

Brian and I spent the weekend in the garden, weeding and re-mulching the beds, planting a few new things, putting things in pots. The weather was beautiful!

Today I was hoping to have a fabric painting day, but the wind is pretty ferocious. I may have to dye instead (I don't need to lay out the dyed fabric to dry, so I can do it entirely indoors). Either way, sure to be fun!

Monday, March 16, 2009

"Bridesmades" exchange

Two years ago, I was a member of a "Making Memories" team. We were given three or four wedding dresses and asked to make a queen sized quilt out of the fabrics and trims. Our quilt was displayed at the 2007 Trinity Valley Quilt Guild show, and later auctioned off to provide money for breast cancer research. It was a wonderful project, and my team, the "Bridesmades," had so much fun working together that we decided to do a round robin, using some of the scraps from the "Making Memories" project.

Well, today, a mere 1-1/2 years after we finished putting on the final borders, we got together and exchanged our finished quilt tops. I have to say, they were all magnificent!

Here we are getting the first look at our quilts. Most of us couldn't remember what our initial blocks had looked like:

All five quilts -- aren't they cool?

My finished top. I LOVE IT!

Jean's quilt:

Susan's quilt:

Jay's quilt. Rather African in feel, isn't it?

Rhonda's quilt. Her center was all blues, and we added greens and blues:

All in all, I'm impressed with our results. Good job, Bridesmades!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

It's a beautiful morning!

I am feeling very happy this morning. It's a combination a factors, really: three days of steady rain, a wonderful day yesterday at the Dallas Quilt Celebration, and the prospect of an afternoon spent sewing.

Gray skies and prolonged drizzle may get some people down, but I love a rainy day! In part because it provokes in me a feeling of nostalgia. Growing up in Ohio, rainy days were common and we often seemed to be without the sun from November through at least the end of February. I love to brew a cup of tea and watch it rain from the warmth and safety of my studio window.

Looking around the garden this morning, I also see that the rain has brought about a burst of new growth in my perennial garden. Rosettes of leaves are popping up everywhere, the grass (St. Augustine turns a dull tan in winter) is showing a blush of green, and some hardy perennials (notably the scabiosa, "pincushion flower") are already covered with blossoms. Spring flowers like the forsythia, narcissus, tulips and irises are also in bloom, giving us quite a bit of color for this time of year.

I had a wonderful time at the show yesterday. Sue, Pat and I ventured over to Dallas in the rain, and we were very glad that we did! My quilts looked great hanging in the Masters Art Quilt section, and I ran into several old friends from my bee in Houston. Barbara now lives in Frisco, north of Dallas, and several other bee members had come up for the show. It was great to see them!

I took a picture of "Block Study #6" hanging in the show. Unfortunately, it is blurry:

I also did some quality shopping. I bought some beautiful silk, stocked up on thread and bought some really lovely batiks. Which I am itching to cut up and sew...

Which brings me to the last reason for this feeling of well-being I have this morning. It's too wet to work in the garden, so I will have the entire afternoon to sew! I am working on a new choppy quilt in black, white and scarlet and can't wait to get into the studio. So goodbye for now!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

What's up

Besides watching it rain, I've been pretty busy during the last week.

The work on the foundation of our house is finished. Four weeks of dirt, noise and grime are over! The entrance to our foundation (our house is pier and beam) is through my pantry, so workers had to troop through the house constantly. And haul every bit of equipment and material through the kitchen. It was a mess! They finished Monday morning, and after two days of intensive cleaning, I have my house back. It's a wonderful feeling!

I spent most of the construction time locked in my studio with Boomer. It's been productive, even if it was somewhat enforced. So here are a few client quilts.

The first is Debbie's beautiful Carpenter's Star. I quilted it in green with lots of feathers:

The back:

And a closeup of some of the quilting:

Billye's quilt from the Joe Cunningham class in January:

A closeup of the spiral quilting:

And finally, La Jean's orange flannel t-shirt quilt:

The verdict is in on the wonky log cabin. The horizontal orientation with the darker red-violet on the bottom seems to have been the most popular. Thanks to everyone who left comments and e-mailed me! I appreciate everyone's input!

My friend Jay, a fellow member of the studio Q fiber art group, has just started a new blog. Check it out!

It's raining!

Here in Fort Worth (or more accurately, the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex) we have just set a one-day record for rainfall. As of 7:30 last night (Wednesday) we had received 2.88 inches. And it was still raining pretty hard at that point.

You may wonder why I'm so excited about this fact. It's because we have been in what they are calling a "moderate" drought here in North Texas. We received below average rainfall last year, and were seriously behind so far this year. And we are the lucky ones -- much of Texas is suffering from a severe drought.

Our 2.88" isn't enough to break the drought, but it's a start. And the good news is that it is still raining, and is supposed to continue through Saturday morning. Good, steady, moderate rainfall that will make our gardens and our prairies bloom. That is something to get excited about!

My favorite dwarf iris, Gizmo the Gremlin, is in bloom:

As are our tulips. We don't know the variety, but Brian calls them his "Easter Egg" tulips:

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Yet another orientation....

On the Machine Quilting Resource Forum, it was suggested that I add this orientation to my choices:

The two dark red-violet patches at the bottom seem to weight the bottom. Any thoughts?

Which Way is Up?

I've been looking at the quilt in the previous post, and I'm thinking that I like this orientation better:

What do you think?

Improv Log Cabin -- Quilted!

I quilted the new improv log cabin quilt I had finished piecing Sunday. It took a full day of quilting -- not only did I spend a long time quilting different patterns in different sections (which was fun), but I also used a variegated thread called King Tut by Superior that broke, at a conservative estimate, 30 times (which was not fun). No joke. Anyway, I think the results are worth the agony. It even hangs perfectly flat (though obviously it is not perfectly square, even intentionally wonky):

A couple of closeups of the quilting patterns and the beautiful, if badly behaved, thread:



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